Tuesday, July 19, 2016
1980 Topps - Billy Sample.
Outfielder Billy Sample appears today on card 458 of the 1980 Topps set. Sample was coming off a pretty impressive rookie season in 1979 and the Rangers were hoping to see it continue in 1980. Unfortunately Billy started off the season with an 0-for-10 slump and didn't get his batting average above .200 until late July.
All told in 1980, Sample appeared in 99 games and made 234 trips to the plate. He managed to get his batting average up to .260 by season's end. He walked 18 times while striking out 15 times to move his on-base percentage to .335. Sample scored 29 runs while knocking in just 19 RBI. He did get ten doubles and four home runs but no triples.
Billy's bat probably helped move him into the fourth outfielder role. As the relief outfielder Sample played 257.1 innings in right field over 40 games; 140.2 innings in center field over 19 games; and 71 innings in left field over 16 games. He was flawless in right and left field and committed just two errors in center.
1980 was a let down season for Billy Sample. The Rangers still had high hopes for their young outfielder but he needed to show that 1980 was simply a sophomore slump. If he could get his bat going in 1981, Sample's defense would make help make him an attractive full-time option in the Texas outfield.